Performance Requirements in Need-Based Aid: What Roles Do They Serve, and Do They Work?

By: Judith Scott-Clayton & Lauren Schudde | March 2017

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) requirements have existed in some form in the federal student aid programs for nearly 40 years—and have become increasingly strict—yet only limited research exists regarding their motivations and consequences. In this brief, the authors discuss two recent CAPSEE studies they conducted that examine the consequences of SAP policy for first-time community college students in two separate, anonymous states. They discuss the underlying motivations for the policy, examine how students are affected, and assess the implications for program efficiency and equity.

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